UPDATE: James Oler has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and 18 months probation for removing a child from Canada for a sexual purpose.
James Oler Sentenced 12 Months in Child Removal Case (August 29, 2019)
James Oler will hear his sentence in Cranbrook B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday, after the former FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) Bishop was found guilty of removing a child from Canada for a sexual purpose.
Madam Justice Martha Devlin found Oler guilty of the offence on May 17, 2019. Devlin ruled that Oler had in fact taken a 15-year-old girl out of Canada in June 2004 to be married into a polygamous relationship with another fundamentalist Mormon man in the United States.
The maximum sentence under the Criminal Code of Canada for removing a child from Canada for a sexual purpose is five years.
Crown made their sentencing suggestion to Devlin in July, believing that Oler should be imprisoned between 18 and 24 months. Crown argued that Oler’s position of authority within the secluded community of Bountiful holds weight, believing the sentence would be a strong deterrence to other members still living in the community.
On the flip side, Joe Doyle suggested a 6 to 18 month sentence for Oler. Doyle is serving Madam Justice Martha Devlin as amicus curiae in the proceedings, a literal friend to court that ensures the laws of the court are upheld, seeing as Oler has had no legal representation.
In Canada, only two other similar sentences have been carried out, both against two other members of the Bountiful community, and both with close connections to Oler’s case. In August 2017, Mr. Justice Paul Pearlman set the only precedent after he sentenced Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore to 12 months and 7 months prison sentences for taking a 13-year-old girl across the border in June 2004 to eventually be married into a polygamous relationship with FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs. Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in Texas for two counts of child sex assault.
More: Blackmore Parents Sentenced 7, 12 Months Imprisonment in Child Removal Case (August 11, 2017)
After hearing the sentencing submissions from the Crown and Doyle in July, Devlin reserved her ruling until August in order to give her reasons for sentencing.
That decision is expected to be delivered today as Oler will learn his fate for the child removal offence.